Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Freedom of Information statistics April to June 2006

The DCA have published the latest statistics for Depts of State and "other monitored bodies". The stats show little change in volumes and performance and show a steady state. The way the figures had not been more explicit in terms of highlighting requests being extended beyond the 20 working day limit has been critcised in the past: table seven now sets out separately the details of requests subject to a "permitted extension". Requests subject to the permitted extension are catgeorised as "in time" in the stats in table B. Across all monitored bodies, there were 1,281 requests (7 per cent of the total received) which were subject to permitted deadline extensions during the first two quarters of 2006 (676 during Q1, 605 during Q2). (full data is available for 913 of these 1,281 requests). In 2005 3587 requests were given a "permitted extension" - the figures for 2006 show no projected increase or decrease for 2006. I presume that this extra data has been added partly in response to the CA Select Committee's comments earlier this year on these issues. Also, as Alasdair Roberts has pointed out in the past there is a need to try match the data from requests given the extended deadline to data relating to their treatment in the clearing house, if they have been passed there.

Executive summary
Departments of State reported receiving just under 4,300 “non-routine” information requests during the second quarter of 2006 (Q2). Other monitored bodies received just under 3,700 requests. This totals include 139 requests handled under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs).

During Q2 of 2006, 92 per cent of all monitored bodies’ requests (excluding those “on hold” or lapsed) were “in time”, in that they were processed within the statutory deadline or were subject to a permitted deadline extension.

Of all “resolvable” requests received during Q2 of 2006, 61 per cent were granted in full. Of the remaining requests, 11 per cent of the total were withheld in part, 17 per cent were withheld in full, and the remaining 7 per cent had not yet received a substantive response.

In the first and second quarters of 2006, monitored bodies had a cumulative total of 541 requests referred for Internal Review. Of the 342 Internal Reviews with a known outcome at the time of monitoring, 75 per cent resulted in the request’s initial handling being upheld in full.

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